(NEWS ROOM) — The Russian Bauxite Company, Rusal – a subsidiary of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated – halted its operations after workers protested a 1% increase in their wages and salaries.
The workers are demanding at least a 15% increase.
The workers subsequently met with the company’s management team where they were allegedly told that they will be fired if they do not resume work.
In a letter issued to the workers late Friday afternoon, the Managing Director of Rusal, Valerii Vinokurov informed the workers attached to the Mining Department/Mobile Equipment Maintenances that the operations at the mines have been brought to a stop until further notice.
“All affected workers are asked to leave the premises of the company with immediate effect,” the letter stated.
The bauxite mine located in Aroaima, Region 10 employs about 600 persons.
About 150 workers on Friday morning, including machine operators, mechanics, drillers and dispatchers, protested what they describe as “unfair” wages.
They have been asking for an increase of about 15% for the past two years.
An employee, who has been with the company for over five years, said the strike will continue until their demands are met.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GB&GWU) later confirmed in a statement that the workers’ protest was responded to by management at a meeting held where they were brutally told that they will be fired if they do not return to work within the day.
“This is an embarrassment to all Guyanese.
“The Union stands in solidarity with these workers in the exercise of their basic right and for the upholding of their attendant rights.
“GB&GWU calls on all Guyanese to understand the struggles faced by these workers, to empathise with them, and to lend them your support,” the Union noted in its statement.
According to the union, it subsequently informed the Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle of the industrial action by the workers.
“How many more have to suffer, how many families and children have to suffer. As Guyanese, citizens of the world, one and all will have to face the reality now.
“The best defense for the unaffected lies in the protection of the rights of those around them,” the union noted.